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i see the cliff...

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#1 ilavHashem



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Posted 15 January 2012 - 01:59 AM

i have a really close friend, but she is friends with some.....un-aidel...2 put it nicely...girls, she doesn't go 2 my school, n just switched 2 a new one, so i understand her wanting friends, i don't wat her 2b unhappy....but at the same time, my nature is that i really want to help her! i refuse to watch her fall!!! i try to keep up with her more often, but she see's them everyday, they ARE her friends, and it kills me to see her with them, when she told me herself (months ago) that they aren't awesum...i know she has so much potentail to grow, are they holding her back, what if she C"v falls (C"V C"V C"V)...will i say i saw it cumin in ddnt/cudnt help? i see this huge cliff ahead of her...can i push her in the other direction? will my push hurt her? (and me?) ...but if not she may fall? wat do i dooo??? also, as she bcums more frnds w them, i grow further from her, i get it, she's in a new school, these are her ppl now....but shud thy be??? any Answers??? i really appreciate all ur help!!! (n i'm just saying....the whole 'send her 2 a rabbi/mentor' thing...not even a Q...not happening.)

#2 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 04:05 AM

How old is she?

Why did she leave your school?

These other girls, the ones who she's friendly with, are they in her new school?

Her un-aidelkeit, as you put it - is it just a lack of tznius or are there behaviors such as drugs or crime or not going to school also?

And one more question - was there a teacher or an older good friend that she liked? I mean even years ago that she lost contact with?

#3 ilavHashem



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Posted 07 February 2012 - 07:38 PM

she is 17

she felt as if it was too yeshivish for her, and because of this she didn't have close friends


more like a lack of tznius....(bH not crime n drugs!)

i don't think so...

thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions, i really appreciate your help!

#4 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:35 AM

You want to try to help this girl, but you don't want to be influenced by her.

In terms of priorities, your first priority here is to ensure you are not influenced; only if that priority is covered should you work on helping her.

The reason for this is that חייך קודמים - you are your first priority. Imagine if someone has a daughter and invites negative influences to her home in order to help them, knowing full well that they will influence her own daughter negatively.

Nobody would do that because a parent's first concern is their own children.

So, too, your first concern is yourself. We have no right, Hashem did not give us permission, to sacrifice ourselves to save someone else.

It is a big Mitzvah to save someone from a burning building, but the firemen will physically restrain someone who tries to run in to do so unless they are properly trained and equipped.

The question is, so what do we do about your friend?

Ok, here's the story.

Needless to say, you should not become part of this girl's new group of friend to try to influence her "from the inside." The good news is, you don't need to.

You should keep in touch with her, but at a distance. You say she's on the cliff. OK - you don't want to climb out on the cliff with her but you do want to be the one that extends her hand to her from a safe position, and to make sure she knows that at any point in time she can take your hand and you'll pull her back.

You need to be ready for that moment if she does make that decision, to make sure that she knows you are there to help her regain her footing.

She is a Baalas Bechirah. You can't change her mind for her, and it is not wise to try to "infiltrate" her new social circles to influence her the way her bad friends are.

But teenagers in her position often find themselves at a crossroads. Maybe they have a falling out with their friends; maybe they have a bad experience because of her behavior regarding Tznuis; maybe they feel guilty or confused. When things like this happen, they will reach out to someone from their "old life," if that someone has been there for them throughout.

Keep in touch with her. Do not give her Mussar (she won't listen anyway) but also don't give her the impression that you envy what she is doing (that's the worst thing you could do), or that you approve. You need to be one of those non-judgmental friends who will be a friend even if their friend did something wrong. You must give her the impression that her behavior, regards of whether it is wrong, does not impace on your being there for her when she needs you. Her behavior is just is not part of the equation.

If she wants to introduce you to her new friends, that is a good sign, but you should not do it (regarding how to deal when that happens,, we will cross that bridge when we get to it). Your friend is on a ledge. Unless you are trained and experienced, you do not walk out on that ledge to them. But you are a hero if you keep your hand extended to them from outside the nearest window 24-7. If at any moment your friend decides to come back, you'll be there for her.

Never join her in her bad activities, even if you think that she will be saved if you do so. Remember the Moshol with the mother. If you are in doubt, think about what advice you would give your daughter if she were in your position regarding helping such a friend. You would not advise her to risk herself in the slightest. Same thing applies to you.

At the same time, if there was some teacher or adult who knew her / knows her well, I would suggest you be in touch with them, and keep them posted, because they may have information or insight that could help.

Also, I would suggest that you do this under the auspices of some reliable adult in your life, because sometimes we may tend to walk out on that ledge without realizing it. But an objective adult observer will see it, and remind you to step back.

So just be there for her. As far as proactive influence, make sure she knows how happy you and her former friends are in their lifestyl. tell her about the school play, the trip, the simchas.

All that having been said, you need to bear in mind that your friend has free-will and controls her own actions. Sometimes people do jump even though they were offered a hand. Cholilah that should happen here, but I don't want you to think that there is more you can do that try to help. The final decision is hers.

And Hashem's. Have her in mind while you say the Bracha of החזירנו בתשובה שלימה לפניך in Shemonah Esrei, and feel free to even add a special Tefilah for her at Yehiyu Leratozn Imrei Fi at the end of Shemona Esrei.

Also bear in mind that al pi derech hatevah, this will not happen overnight. It will take time. It may take years. Somewhere down the line, maybe a few years from now, she may be at that crossroads, and if you are there, she may reach out then. And she may go far down before she gets up. That tends to happen often. But don't lose hope. As I said, it may take years before she finds herself at that crossroads.

One more thing. A very important thing. Be a friend. not a Kiruv professional. The reason why a lot of the efforts to provide friends for kids off the Derech often does not bring results is because the appointed friends become friends because they want to help the at-risk kid. That is backwards. They should not be friends because they want to help; they should want to help because they are friends.

She needs to see that you care about her, for real, not that she is you are a MItzvah girl and she is your Mitzvah. People very often tne ask me when I tell them this how they can make the person see that. My answer, always, is: It should be true. How do you make someone see that you are? Care for them truly, and they will see. Down the road , she will appreciate the fact that you were there, at that window, sticking out your hand for her all this time.

I see from your post that you do care. That means you have a head start. Hatzlachah - to you, and to your friend as well.

Please keep me posted.

#5 ilavHashem



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Posted 09 February 2012 - 06:14 PM

thank you so much!
btw an amazing hashgacha pratis......as i was reading this post she called me! if thts not a sign idk wat is!!!

#6 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 07:31 PM

Do your best. She's in good hands.

#7 ilavHashem



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Posted 30 September 2012 - 01:51 AM

so scared, i lost touch with this girl....for a while now she's BFF's with these bad girls, and i mean smoking, hanging out with guys, idk what else bad friends...she's pretty much ok, but she's hanging on a cliff and theres a big earthquake i can't ignore, its gunna shake her and i don't know if she'll make it out
a very close family member of hers is terminally ill
already all the family's attention is focused on them
and as much as i believe in miracles, if what the doctors say holds true, then her world is gunna change a whole lot and i wont be there for her
i dont know who will be
i just hope she makes it
we used to be so close
it just takes so much effort to keep in touch cus she acts so distant sometimes
the most we do is text and that stopped too a while ago
i feel so bad
i feel like i have a sort of responsibility to help
pls help me help her

#8 taon



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Posted 16 October 2012 - 06:03 PM

Aside from davening, i dont know what histaldus you can do for her. Is there someone you can alert to step in?? Particularly wiht the terminal illness at least her/any Rabbi can step in for that. show sympathy, and if she is ready to accept help, she ay give a sign. BiEzras Hashem. Please keep us updated